'This November, I celebrate ten years as a survivor of stage four, low-grade, non-Hodgkin's lymphoma," says Jamie Reno. "They told me I'd be very lucky to live five years, but what did they know? I'm alive today because I chose to do a clinical trial seven years ago of a new drug called Bexxar. I took the chance."
The singer-songwriter signed a national record deal in 2004 with 33rd Street Records, and 10,000 copies of his last record, Survivors' Songs, were donated to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society to be given away to cancer patients and survivors. Guest players on the album include Charlie Daniels, Robert Lamm (of Chicago), and Peter Frampton.
"[Frampton] lives in Ohio, of all places," says Reno. "While he may have lost his locks, he still rocks. To my surprise and joy, he decided to give the tune his inimitable 'wah wah' treatment. If you would have told me 30 years ago that Frampton would be playing with me on my record, I would have told you that you've had too many beers.... He recorded his guitar stuff in his home studio, [and] his letter telling me how much he loved the track ['Survivors' Song'] is tacked to my office wall."
Reno wrote his newest song, "I Still Love You, Pluto," with his six-year-old daughter Mandy about the celestial body's recent downgrade from planet status. "That was just something very silly and very small that my daughter and I came up with," he says. "I don't really plan to record it."
WHAT'S IN YOUR CD PLAYER?
1. Neil Young, Living with War ("An amazing combination of tenderness and rage...the songs are raw, passionate, melodic, and topical.")
2. Lindsey Buckingham, Under the Skin ("A mostly acoustic, typically atmospheric solo showcase from the Fleetwood Mac vet, with a Tusk-era ethereal vibe.")
3. Keith Urban, Golden Road ("Just because he's got Brad Pitt looks, plays guitar like Joe Walsh, plays banjo like Bernie Leadon, writes amazingly heartfelt country-rock songs, and sleeps with Nicole Kidman, don't hold that against him.")
4. High School Musical, soundtrack ("My daughter's favorite...
it's actually not as bad as a lot of the tuneless pop crap out now.")
DESERT ISLAND DVDs?
1. Cinema Paradiso ("An unabashedly sentimental and bittersweet celebration of life and of movies themselves.")
2. Breaking Away ("Classic Midwest comedy.")
3. Lifeguard ("Obscure, old-school mid-'70s drive-in flick about an aging lifeguard who just doesn't want to grow up and leave the beach.")
4. The Bank Dick ("W.C. Fields as Egbert Souse, a bumbling town drunk who inadvertently becomes a local hero.")
MOST STUPID SONG?
1. "Every song ever recorded by Mariah Carey or Britney Spears."
2. "Every song ever recorded by Van Halen without David Lee Roth."
3. "Every song ever recorded by Yoko Ono."
4. "Every song ever recorded that is not covered by Rockola."
5. "Come on Eileen" by Dexys Midnight Runners ("I really hate this freakin' song.")
FAVORITE TWILIGHT ZONE?
"The one in which airline passenger William Shatner is completely freaked out by a gremlin on the wing of the airplane ["Nightmare at 20,000 Feet"]. This one was remade effectively with John Lithgow in the Twilight Zone movie. This is probably why I still never want a wing seat."
"Watching the Beatles appear the first time on The Ed Sullivan Show with my mom, dad, sister, and brother, in 1964."
PAUL McCARTNEY...COOL OR CRAP?
"Paul's the best pop-rock melody writer of all time, and for all his money, fame, and awards, he's still underrated by some clueless critics who think you can't be a genius and also write silly love songs. Most music critics are embittered wannabes and outcasts, and their reviews are thinly veiled, cowardly attempts to exact revenge against a mainstream culture in which they never were fully accepted."
FAVORITE LOCAL EATERY?
"Good Time Charlie's in PB has been my favorite for nearly 20 years. I love the sausage fettuccini alfredo, and pretty much all their fish and steaks -- all are reasonably priced. Charlie -- yes, there really is a Charlie -- is da man!"
FINISH THIS SENTENCE: "THE LAST TIME I GOT DRUNK..."
"...was on Valentine's Day two years ago, when my wife and I got a babysitter for our daughter and had a hot date. I drank a boatload of wine and got lucky. I think."
SOMETHING ABOUT YOU FEW WOULD KNOW OR GUESS?
"I've never illegally downloaded a single song."